Building's webmaster continues his series of handy hints by talking you through how to make your site accessible
Do consider accessibilityAccessibility is a very big deal in today's web. Having an easily accessible website will not only help users less able to browse the internet, but will ultimately help all your day-to-day visitors. Colours are one of the most important factors to take into account. Around 10% of males and 5 % of females have some form of colour vision deficiency, be it an inability to distinguish between 2 colours or complete colour blindness. This means it's important to use contrasting colours to make text easily legible. As this isn't always pretty, some sites offer the ability to change a site's stylesheet so colours are of a higher contrast or make the site completely black & white. The London Olympics site (www.london2012.com/) offers various colours and font sizes to aid visitors with vision ailments.
In the same vein, it's important to tag all your images up with “alt” tags. Effectively this gives your image a name or “alternate text”. This can help the visually impaired that browse the web using an audio screen reader. What it's really helpful for is getting your images cached by Google images. It's also another great place for your keywords.
Don't bury your contentSearch engine spiders are the robots that come to your site and index your content - and they're quite lazy. They go to a site, consume content, follow a link, consume more content, follow a link… you get the idea. After it has munched through content 3 or 4 links deep they get a bit fat and lazy. If you've broken down your site into 72 different niche sectors and then broken them out into colours, regions, popularity and the like; your content will start to get lost at the bottom of the pile. Not only will your pages get indexed less frequently, but your users may be reluctant to wade through a sea of navigation too.
Ever find yourself watching someone else browsing your website and not being able to find the thing they want as it's buried? Time to rethink your structure…
An emerging trend for accessing large banks of knowledge on the web is faceted search. In its simplest form, faceted search is the ability to continually narrow down your search by adding criteria to it one at a time. You can then add to or remove from your criteria to refine your search results. This makes your content extremely accessible. One of the more immediate examples of this is the browse feature on our very own jobsite Building4Jobs. Try it now - (http://building4jobs.com/jobs/)